I can tell you from my experience that there’s no better way than to do this using keyboard shortcuts, also known as “hotkeys”. If you don’t use them already - start.
It will change how you work. With shortcuts you can save about 60 – 70% of time spent in Photoshop.
List compiled below contains the most frequently used and - therefore - useful shortcuts in Photoshop. They work in CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6, CC, CC2014 and CC2015 versions.
|Shortcut in Windows||Shortcut on Mac||Action|
|Ctrl +||Cmd +||Zooms in the document view. Together with the next two shortcuts this will be your most used trinity in Photoshop. Learning and using them is mandatory.|
|Ctrl -||Cmd -||Zooms out the document view.|
|Space||Space||Temporary access to Hand tool, which lets you move document view on the screen. This is so amazingly simple yet effective shortcut, I'm almost crying with joy that Photoshop creators coded it in.|
|Ctrl Alt I||Cmd Opt I||Launches Image Size dialog box. There you can resize image or resize the document for printing purposes.|
|Ctrl T||Cmd T||Launches Free Transform tool for active layer. Useful for resizing, stretching and rotating layers. After you're done, hit Enter/Return to accept this transformation, or Esc to abort it.|
|Ctrl D||Cmd D||Deselects selection. Really saves time when you’re making lots of selections.|
|D||D||Resets colors in toolbar to black and white (hitting X switches them between each other). Especially useful when you're working with colors and suddenly have to paint a layer mask :)|
|Alt Delete||Opt Backspace||Fills the selection with foreground color. Replacing Alt/Opt with Ctrl/Cmd will fill selection with background color. Great for fast-coloring selections.|
|V||V||Switches to Move tool. No further explanation needed. Work extremely good when switching with other tool back and forth.|
|Ctrl M||Cmd M||Launches Curves dialog box. Curves is in my opinion the most powerful tone-color adjustment tool besides Camera Raw plugin. Lets you quickly adjust brightness, contrast, shadows and highlights.|
|Ctrl S||Cmd S||Saves document (or overwrites it). Be careful with this shortcut, because you may accidentaly overwrite one version of the document with another. For saving versions, use the shortcut below.|
|Ctrl Shift S||Cmd Shift S||Saves document as new version (copy).|
|Ctrl Shift Alt S||Cmd Shift Opt S||Launches Save For Web dialog box. Useful when preparing files for internet. A must when you want your images to be as lightweight as possible while maintaining quality.|
|Ctrl E||Cmd E||Merges active layer with layer below. Useful for cleaning up layers structure.|
|Ctrl L||Cmd L||Launches Levels dialog box. Useful for quick and minor tone adjustments.|
|Ctrl U||Cmd U||Launches Hue/Saturation dialog box. Useful for changing colors and color saturation.|
|double click||double click||Double clicking on Photoshop background triggers the Open dialog box :)|
Keyboard stickers with shortcuts
By the way, if you think about working in Photoshop profesionally, consider getting keyboard stickers with shortcuts. They contain all shortcuts from the table above plus more. Shortcuts are visually informative, and shortcuts are color coded, which makes using stickers very easy.
Keyboard stickers with shortcuts will give you all the necessary tools under your fingers, and besides that – with time – you’ll learn all that shortcuts by heart. Check out our keyboard stickers with shortcuts for Photoshop and start working smartly :)